We’ve all experienced this: hearing a song triggers a memory. For me, for example, the song “Peggy Sue” (Buddy Holly and the Crickets, 1957) triggers a memory of a car ride in the 1950s, driving through my hometown, with the song on the radio, and my Mom at the wheel of our rounded, light-blue plymouth. I could go on and list dozens, or hundreds of songs and associated memories. There’s something special about music and memory. Continue reading
On this episode we have Leanne Boucher from Nova Southeastern University and Nick Spitzer from UCSD. We discuss with Nick about his new discoveries recently published in Science. His article shows how certain neurons switch their neurotransmitters based on exposition of an animal to different schedules of light/dark cycles. You can view the full discussion here, it was fascinating! Continue reading
Newborn infants can do lots of things. They can breathe, swallow, see, hear, startle, grasp, withdraw from noxious stimuli, taste, smell, cry and more. An experienced physician can elicit a broad range of behaviors. Perhaps surprisingly, the basic spinal circuitry for walking is present. If you take a neonate, support its weight, and put the feet on the ground, the infant will begin “stepping”; that is, take alternating steps, left-right-left, on the ground. How is this done? Does this suggest that an infant, with the right training, could walk?
Memory is our most prized human treasure. It defines our sense of self, and our ability to navigate the world. It defines our relationships with others – for good or ill – and is so important to survival that our gilled ancestors bear the secret of memory etched in their DNA. If you asked someone over 50 to name the things they most fear about getting older, losing one’s memory would be near the top of that list. There is so much worry over Alzheimer’s disease, the memory thief, that it is easy to forget that our modern understanding of memory is still quite young, less than one, very special lifespan.
Meet the Patient Zero of memory disorders, H.M.
The last time I was on Boylston Street it was to give a lecture in November at a scientific meeting in the Weston Hotel. Today, Sunday, I’m looking out onto an empty street, barricaded. An eerie modern-day ghost town festooned with yellow police tape rippling in the cold Boston wind. Continue reading
I got a message from science writer Bruce Lieberman announcing that he will be hosting a live webcast on Thursday April 11, 11:30AM with Bradford Dickerson, Associate Professor of Neurology at the Harvard Medical School and Mayank Mehta, Professor of Neurophysics at the Brain Research Institute at the University of California. This looks like a good occasion for those of you who want to learn about how memory works and ask questions to renowned experts in the field! Continue reading